A Man Caught My Attention And It Was Not My Husband

Written: May 27 2019

Have you ever met someone that instantly catches your attention? And I am not speaking of the person you are in relationship with. I know, it almost feels like shining a light in your face and asking you to speak that dreadful secret you have been hiding and allowing to eat away at you.

I’ll help you by saying that, I have. I have fallen in admiration with someone other than my husband before and I am here to talk to you about it.

It is easy to fall in admiration or attraction; whether it is another parent, a work superior, someone who is skilled in an area of your interest… Maybe the trainer at your gym, your pastor, or your child’s teacher. We do not see it coming at first and then we suddenly find ourselves thinking of them randomly. And more frequently. And we look forward to the next interaction. So innocent. We look up to the qualities they carry, we enjoy their company, their conversation, it is just another person to interact with. So, so innocent.

The qualities that caught my attention? His intelligence. His confidence. How he handled his authority. And his status in my field. Coincidentally also what caught my attention for my husband! Ya see?

Now, if you are sitting there starting to have the urge to call me unfaithful and are feeling a little high on your horse, this is me reminding you to keep yourself humble before you fall, dear friend. This is a reality many men and women will face in their lives. Perhaps you have not been there, and you could never picture yourself there – that is great! But don’t sit there believing this happens to only unfaithful individuals, because the truth is this has happened to pastors, to family members, to best friends, and potentially your spouse.

Frankly, I think it is time we shine a light on the very things the devil uses against us to draw us into sin. After all, that is how the devil works. Is it not? He isolates us, makes us think only someone as sinful as ourselves would ever feel this way outside of our marriage, and pushes until you run or cave. We are led to think that “I already screwed up by even thinking this way, may as well go all the way”. Odd isn’t it? We thought this all ended after we got married and were living our ‘happily ever-after’.

Maybe your thoughts started with “my, how well they present the Word, so comedic and full of heart!” and developed into “we get along so well, it’s so natural and easy to talk to them”. The devil is not obvious when he is throwing temptation, people! I thank God for how He spoke to my heart when I first noticed I was enjoying time and conversation a little too much with a coworker. I walked into a women’s group and out of the blue one of the ladies there randomly shared the following story: she had once joined a running group, made friends with a fellow runner, and suddenly started looking forward to running and chatting with him. The more she enjoyed the company, the more she began to feel less comfortable with it all. She said that once she caught herself and realized what was happening, she had to make the decision to stop attending the group and cut communication with the individual. She realized that something that looked so innocent to her had started to not honour her marriage, or God.

My heart stopped! The story had no place in the discussion we were having, and she ended it with “I don’t know why I felt to share that”. I wanted to go to my car and cry because suddenly the very thing I had been consumed with shame and condemnation over was no longer something I faced alone. This woman, who loved her husband, her family, and her faith, faced it too. And then I got a call from a friend, and suddenly there was another woman who loved her family but found herself caught in the trap of attraction and did not know what to do. All of us caught off guard BUT all of us a little unhappy in our marriage at the time as well (more on this below!).

So now what? What the heck did I do with all this? I [eventually] took a few steps…

Step 1Bring it to the surface 
Run to God. Run, Forest, Run! If your child was playing on the shores of a lake and a bear came out of the woods and started to approach, wouldn’t you want your child to run to you as fast they could so that you could protect them? Especially if the bear is a cub (ie. sin that looks innocent), but you know Mama Bear (ie. the devil) is just around the corner with plans of her own. Keep bringing it to God as often as you need to, keep praying, keep running.

And then we talk about it! We sit with our spouse and confess it to them (feel free to bring a trusted mentor into the conversation if need be). The worst thing you can do is to try to hide it; it will consume you and try to defeat you. Believe me, I [stupidly] attempted that first.

Also, don’t be like me and try to downplay to your spouse what you are feeling; it is dishonest and doesn’t hold you accountable. I knew I had to get the conviction off my chest. So I downplayed what I was feeling and only focused on what my coworker was doing when I shared things with my husband. He understood that part of the job I was hired for required a certain level of “taking interest” in individuals that had the power to make or break the company I worked for. So I tried to use that as an excuse for why I was being flirty. The reality is just because I talked to my husband and he trusted me, it did not mean that 1. suddenly my actions were acceptable or honourable, and 2. that it was okay for me to continue my actions and play with temptation.  I remember texting my husband one day and telling him what my coworker had done while talking to me, and suddenly my brain was like “well, now that he knows, it doesn’t matter if he does it again. You aren’t hiding anything!”. What?! No! How you choose to carry yourself and the way you allow others to interact with you sets the wall of defence against the devil’s schemes. Be a strong wall, be an honourable wall, be a wall that says “not today, Satan!”. 

Step 2: Get a plan of action in place 
I am a full believer that the devil’s #1 goal is to destroy marriages and families by tearing them apart. This not only damages the couple as individuals, but it damages the children involved and begins to instill lies about their value and identity. By talking about what we are feeling, we are shining light on the sin trying to destroy our relationship; we are removing the isolation factor and it becomes a group approach to throwing water on a fire that looks enticing but is really not worth a minute of your time. It is not worth losing your marriage, your children, or even yourself over lust and sin.

What can you do? Find ways to reduce the time you spend with and think of said individual. Maybe you cannot quit your job (a few months later this is what I did in the end), but perhaps you can change where/with whom you have lunch, or change your book club, or prayer group, or gym class. If you are stuck in meetings or projects together – keep conversations to matters of work and less about your personal lives. And give yourself constant reminding pep-talks to keep your emotions and actions in a God-honouring space. We have to learn to STOP our thoughts dead in their tracks when our mind wanders. Remember: you are in control of your mind, and where your mind wanders, your actions follow.

Step 3: Work on your marriage
During the time I struggled with these feelings, my marriage was at the lowest it had been. We were in a stressful and busy patch and were not communicating or loving each other well. Things were tough, and I was tired of it all. If you find yourself in the same boat, here are some things you can do to start changing your mindset regarding your marriage: 1. Stop complaining about your spouse to others and start praising them. 2. Stop replaying your fights and start walking out grace and forgiveness. 3. Stop fantasizing about “how good so-and-so must be at A, B or C” and start naming all the things your spouse is amazing at. 4. Start spending energy on romance: send the sexy text, look good for them at home, make the first move in the bedroom. Refocus your emotions and set it on them (not your idolization of someone else). 5. Start having more sex, start talking more, start going on more dates, start being more present in your marriage.

The more we look at what is wrong with our spouse/marriage, the more we idolize other people. Every person has their downfalls and every marriage has its bad patches; there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. The more you start working on your relationship the less time you will have to get distracted by people who do not deserve your love and attention the way your spouse and family do. Of course you are going to fight with and be annoyed by your spouse more than so-and-so. Your spouse sees the true you; they live with you and all your habits, and they know you in a way that no one else does.

If you are sitting there thinking “you don’t know my husband. The romance is dead.” Then perhaps talking to a professional therapist or a trained pastor is a good start. That very flame that had you fall in love is still at the heart of your marriage; you just have to scrape off the years of frustration and hurt that have suffocated that love for so long.

If you are in the dating season of your relationship, this would be a good time to pause and really think through why you are pursuing a relationship with your partner. This is your opportunity to surrender to God and spend time speaking with Him before taking deeper steps into commitment. For some more advice on how to know if he/she is right for you, check out my post on “Seven Questions To Ask Yourself Before The Proposal”.

So friends, to wrap it up: know you are not alone in this lustful sin and that this does not have to be your downfall. You can be free of these feelings and bring honour back into your marriage. Keep throwing all of your love and attention towards your marriage, and its bed. And keep calling God into the situation!

Do you have advice for someone facing a situation like this?
Leave your thoughts on a comment below.

Ashley –

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